Cross-National Associations Among Cyberbullying Victimization, Self-Esteem, and Internet Addiction: Direct and Indirect Effects of Alexithymia

Sebastian Wachs, Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Michelle F. Wright, Gabriela Ksinan Jiskrova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The relationship among cyberbullying victimization, lower self-esteem, and internet addiction has been well-established. Yet, little research exists that explains the nature of these associations, and no previous work has considered the inability to identify or describe one’s emotions, namely, alexithymia, as a potential mediator of these links. The present study sought to investigate the indirect effects of cyberbullying victimization on self-esteem and internet addiction, mediated by alexithymia. The sample consisted of 1,442 participants between 12 and 17 years (Mage = 14.17, SD = 1.38, 51.5% male) from Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Results showed a direct relationship between cyberbullying victimization and self-esteem and an indirect association mediated by alexithymia in the Dutch sample. However, in the German and U.S. samples, only an indirect relationship via alexithymia, but not a direct effect of cyberbullying victimization on self-esteem, was found. Consistent across the three country samples, cyberbullying victimization and internet addiction were directly and also indirectly associated via alexithymia. In sum, findings indicate that alexithymia might help better understand which detrimental effects cyberbullying victimization has on adolescent psychological health. Thus, cyberbullying prevention programs should consider implementing elements that educate adolescents on the ability to identify and describe their own emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1368
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 11 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Wachs, Vazsonyi, Wright and Ksinan Jiskrova.


  • adolescents
  • alexithymia
  • cyberbullying victimization
  • internet addiction
  • self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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